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Compensation for a Missed 4th Degree Tear

Compensation for a Missed 4th Degree Tear

If your 4th degree tear has been missed due to medical negligence, it might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Fourth degree tears

A fourth degree tear is the most severe form of perineal injury in vaginal childbirth.

From the vagina, it crosses the perineum, damaging both skin and muscle, and continues through the anal sphincter muscles into the anus, where it causes injury to the lining of the anal canal.

The functioning of the bowel and the passing of wind and faeces is compromised by this serious injury. With prompt diagnosis and a full and skilled repair, the new mother may expect to make a recovery. If, however, the very presence of this injury is not identified by the medical professionals attendant at the birth, a repair may not take place and the new mother may face a lifetime of worsening bowel symptoms.

A fourth degree tear which is not repaired also puts the woman at risk of the development of a fistula between her rectum and her vagina, a rectovaginal fistula. This abnormal passage or tear between the two normally separate parts of the female anatomy can allow the movement of wind and faeces from the rectum into the vagina, causing leakage.

If the woman's bowel function is lost, it may even be necessary for her to have a stoma fitted in order to process the passing of faecal matter from the body.

The long-term impact of such shocking physical effects can be devastating, affecting every aspect of a woman's life and leaving her unable to work in a wide variety of careers.

Poor quality care

The knowledge that such an appalling outcome would not have occurred with better medical care is particularly hard to bear.

Vaginal childbirth presents a risk of severe perineal tears and all women giving birth in this way should undergo a digital rectal examination following the birth. This would check the condition of the anus and the anal sphincter muscles and should allow for any damage to be diagnosed.

A failure to carry out such an examination or a misdiagnosis, leaving the woman with on-going symptoms, may justify a claim for compensation.

Speak to a specialist solicitor

If you are facing a future of severe bowel problems due to a missed 4th degree tear during childbirth, contact Glynns Solicitors. We are specialists in medical negligence compensation and one of our team of experienced lawyers will be very happy to discuss your situation with you.

Please call us on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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